Frequently Asked Questions

Most frequently asked questions

Most other genetic tests screen only for “what is already known” and then discard the sample. As new genes and traits are discovered, a new DNA sample would need to be collected again for each new testing process. Unlike our competitors, Basepaws sequences, or reads, your cat’s DNA – even the parts we know nothing about. These unknown sections are what we study the most to increase the depth of knowledge and to improve the health of cats everywhere!

Home-based, health-focused genetic testing is important now more than ever. DNA information opens up a new world of knowledge, health, personality and additional bonding for you and your cat. It’s simply a must for any cat owner who wishes to create a stronger human-animal bond, receive actionable insights about genetic disease markers, and support the health of cats everywhere through genetic research.

Your report will be available in 4-6 weeks from the date your sample arrives at our laboratory (please note it can take up to four months in very rare cases of sequencing issues). We are working on trying to shorten this time frame as much as possible. Every sample helps us create the biggest database of feline genetic data and will contribute to new discoveries in feline health.

Normally, we see samples arrive at our laboratory about 1-3 weeks after being dropped in the mail. However, it can take samples as little as 5 days, and sometimes up to 6 weeks to finally arrive at our laboratory. USPS does their best, however, delays are quite common, yet very rarely (almost never) do samples get lost.

You have a choice between a cat DNA test that looks only at breed groups and cat breeds - Breed Groups – giving you a breakdown of how your cat is related to various breeds, and a Breed + Health DNA test, which also looks at health markers and genetic diseases. You can also purchase the Whole Genome Sequencing of your cat! You may compare these options on a DNA Kits page.

Each Basepaws DNA Test Kit includes a single, sterile cheek swab with stabilizing liquid, a biohazard specimen bag, detailed instructions on sample collection, and prepaid packaging for easy return shipping of your cat's sample (USA orders only). And finally, a detailed report of your cat’s DNA analysis! As we continue to make new discoveries, we will update your report with additional information to reflect these findings!

Don’t panic, it’s not cat-astrophic! We may be able to locate your activation ID, please email our trusted Cat Concierge at meow@basepaws.com with your name, kitty’s name, and order number. Your sample will not be processed until it has been activated. If your purchase was with a third-party retailer, we can only identify your sample with your kitty’s name written on the inside flap of the box. You may purchase a replacement for a small fee if your unactivated sample cannot be identified.

General information

Absolutely! Head to our Basepaws Store to purchase a Basepaws DNA Test now. For those who want to truly support feline genetic research and uncover every single section of their cat’s DNA, we also offer Whole Genome Sequencing. This comes with a custom canvas photo print of your cat, assembled completely out of their own DNA sequence!

Each Basepaws DNA Test Kit includes a single, sterile cheek swab with stabilizing liquid, a biohazard specimen bag, detailed instructions on sample collection, and prepaid packaging for easy return shipping of your cat’s sample (USA orders only). And finally, a detailed report of your cat’s DNA analysis! As we continue to make new discoveries, we will update your report with additional information to reflect these findings!

Once you purchase a test, you’ll receive the Basepaws DNA Test with a swab in the mail. Inside you’ll find detailed instructions for sample collection, starting with barcode ID activation. Once you collect your cat’s cheek swab sample, send it back to the lab in the provided prepaid packaging (return shipping is free for US customers only). We will notify you via email once your sample is received and get to work on your results right away! 

Follow our quick step-by-step video to walk you through the entire process!

To prevent contamination, please make sure to wait at least 30 minutes after your cat eats or drinks anything to collect your sample. For kittens who are still receiving milk, please wait at least 60 minutes after feeding before swabbing the mouth for the DNA sample.

Ideally, we want the swab in your cat's mouth for 5-10 seconds, but we understand that cats can be temperamental. In most cases, we can still reliably obtain good quality DNA if the swab is in the cat’s mouth for as little as 3-5 seconds, as long as you manage to make proper contact with the inner cheek, gums and/or tongue. Please make sure to wait at least 30 minutes after your cat consumes anything before swabbing to prevent contamination.

Breed testing

You have a choice between a cat DNA test that looks only at breed groups and cat breeds - Breed Groups – giving you a breakdown of how your cat is related to various breeds, and a Breed + Health DNA test, which also looks at health markers and genetic diseases. You can also purchase the Whole Genome Sequencing of your cat! You may compare these options on a DNA Kits page.

Our breed testing is mainly geared towards mixed breed, non-pedigree cats. Please know that we are NOT a breed verification test, and breeders sometimes mistake our breed test with confirmation of their cat’s pedigree. The report we offer allows you to see the breed breakdown within groups (Western, Eastern, Exotic, and Persian by percentage), and the likelihood of breed similarity. The majority of the cats in the world are not pedigreed nor do they have an ancestor that’s pedigreed. We must stress that our genomic similarity analysis does not necessarily mean that there was a pedigreed cat in your cat’s ancestry.

Your report will be available in 4-6 weeks from the date your sample arrives at our laboratory (please note it can take up to four months in very rare cases of sequencing issues). We are working on trying to shorten this time frame as much as possible. Every sample helps us create the biggest database of feline genetic data and will contribute to new discoveries in feline health.

Breed relativity is among our top priorities. We test by comparing your cat’s genetic DNA sample to our pedigreed cat database, as well as to all the other cat samples which we’ve received. Not all breeds are included (yet!), but we are working hard to quickly add as many as possible. As we expand our kitty DNA community, your cat’s report findings will continue to be refined. Take a look at our sample report to get an idea of what your cat’s report will look like!

There are 60+ official cat breeds, and Basepaws customers will see their report change over time to include all of them. Each new breed update - for months and years to come - will be added to your report at no additional cost. We anticipate new health markers and additional diseases to be available and updated at a small additional cost.

An unopened DNA test (stabilizing liquid, tube, etc.) will stay viable for about 2 years. An opened, kitty-swabbed (post-collection) test will last for up to 1 year at room temperature.

The slider allows options for you to choose what level of scientific confidence you are comfortable with. If you are only interested in the most rigorous interpretation of the data, simply pick 'confident.’ When the slider is moved to 'confident,' our data conclusively shows that the colored chromosomal regions are most similar to the breeds and breed groups shown. We only ever see the colored chromosomal regions in your cat's DNA in the breeds and breed groups shown under the 'confident setting'. As you move the slider to the left, there are more chromosomal regions assigned to breeds and breed groups and the % of polycat assigned regions decreases. This means that we are allowing for lower statistical confidence in assigning the colored chromosomal segments. In other words, the 'maybe' on the slider means that, based on our data, the colored chromosomal regions seem to be most similar to the breeds and breed groups shown under the 'maybe' setting, but we either need more data to say for sure or those particular regions are shared between more than one breed and/or breed groups.

Health markers and genomes

Having your cat’s DNA tested can show you potential threats to their health. We currently test for over 40 mutations that relate to 17 different hereditary diseases. This allows you to share the results with your veterinarian and know what to look for if needed. It’s as close to a crystal ball as you’ll ever get!

We sequence over 300 million nucleotides of your cat’s DNA, which is only a part of the genome! However, if you would like to have your cat’s entire genome sequenced and monitor every base pair, we offer Whole Genome Sequencing as well!

New health markers will be included for an additional cost. Our science team is very actively working on the additional health markers and genetic diseases to be added to the reports. We currently cover 39 markers that code for 17 different diseases. As we continue making new discoveries, we plan to offer the new, upcoming health markers and related information available for a small additional cost. Please know this is a tentative plan, and we will make sure to cover all our bases before these additions.

Account and activation

Don’t panic, it’s not cat-astrophic! We may be able to locate your activation ID, please email our trusted Cat Concierge at meow@basepaws.com with your name, kitty’s name, and order number. Your sample will not be processed until it has been activated. If your purchase was with a third-party retailer, we can only identify your sample with your kitty’s name written on the inside flap of the box. You may purchase a replacement for a small fee if your unactivated sample cannot be identified.

First, please check your www.basepaws.com account to see if your report has been uploaded. If you cannot log into your account, it's likely that one was never set up. Your purchase is separate from activation, and you must create an account to activate your sample's barcode ID before sending it back. After we receive the sample at our lab, please allow 4-6 weeks for your results.

After you purchase a Basepaws DNA Test, you must first create an account. Please visit https://my.basepaws.com/login, where "Create an Account" is located on the bottom of the page, follow the steps to add your cat's profile, then you will be prompted to activate.

The Basepaws Phenotype Survey is all about the physical traits of your cats, also known as the Phenotype. This survey is crucial to helping us learn more about the unknown parts of the genetic code. When your cat’s genetic code is paired with its physical traits, cats everywhere will benefit! Please feel free to fill out the survey at any time! We know that it is a bit long, so the survey automatically saves your progress allowing you to come back and finish later!

Shipping

We ship within 24-48 hours of order placement. USPS does a great job of getting the kits in your hands (paws?) within 3-5 business days in the US with First-Class Mail, and around 10 business days to Canada. Keep in mind Canadian/International customers must provide their own return shipping postage. US customers are covered by free return shipping!

Normally, we see samples arrive at our laboratory about 1-3 weeks after being dropped in the mail. However, it can take samples as little as 5 days, and sometimes up to 6 weeks to finally arrive at our laboratory. USPS does their best, however, delays are quite common, yet very rarely (almost never) do samples get lost.

Not at all! 9 out of 10 samples that are assumed to be lost eventually do arrive. If you are not notified of your sample's arrival within 3 weeks after dropping your kit off in the mail, please contact us at meow@basepaws.com.

Multi-cat households

Absolutely! We sell packs of up to 3 kits (with increasing discounts) on our shop page.  If you are looking to purchase more than 3 kits, please contact us directly at meow@basepaws.com for more information.

Of course! All you need to do is create a cat profile for each cat within your account and activate each of their barcode IDs, respectively.

Samples shipped at the same time can be separated through the USPS mailing process and delivered to us on separate days. Our laboratory technicians thoroughly examine each sample after sequencing is completed. If an issue is detected, your cat’s sample may be resequenced for better quality. With so many steps in the analysis process, your kitties’ reports can be completed at different times, as the timing of each step varies depending on the quality and DNA concentration of the sample.

Even though kittens of the same litter may demonstrate similar (or extremely different!) traits, they will always have different reports. When genes are passed on to kittens, each parent donates a random assortment of genes. This can result in extremely similar or extremely different genes passed on to each sibling. In addition, cats from the same litter can have more than one father! This is more common in outdoor cats, and can produce an even wider array of physical and genetic traits. Basepaws can help you learn what exactly is found underneath all that fur, in each kitten!

A great example of this is our CEO’s kitties, Stormy and Sunny. Although they are siblings from the same litter, Stormy is a dilute calico (female), while Sunny is an orange tabby (male). Each has completely different personalities and health histories.

We also want to stress the importance of the Genetic Health Marker report for each kitten. The multitude of gene variation from each parent can also result in potentially different Health Marker reports for every kitten in a litter.

More features and services

The wild cat index percentage is determined using the relative genetic similarity between all of the domestic cat samples we test and four big cats (Tiger, Leopard, Cheetah, Cougar). This means we measure how genomically similar your cat is to these wild felines when being compared to all other domestic cat samples in our database, not to the specific wildcat base pairs themselves. 

Keep in mind: we compare the microscopic genetic differences to see which wild cat your cat is the most similar to. This comparison does not reflect genetic heritage or percentage but is a fun comparison of DNA profiles between genetically different species.

Yes! In addition to our selective sequencing + breed report, Basepaws can also sequence your cat’s entire genome or the “exome” (only the genes and none of the genetic packaging). Please contact us at meow@basepaws.com or visit our Whole Genome Sequencing page if you’d like to learn more about these services and pricing!

As our database grows and more cats join us, our ability to make new discoveries will improve. Some of these may take only a few months, while others will take years. We are doing our best to find cats who share common genetic diseases and collect their samples to achieve key discoveries quicker. Visit both our blog and Research page for more information about key work and many of these diseases.

Our medical information is protected by HIPAA, an act of Congress that provides rules to ensure the security and confidentiality of your health information. California state and most other states have laws preventing public disclosure of veterinary treatment records. Basepaws adheres to this law. We take your personal information very seriously and this includes the genetic results of your cats and we try our very best to protect your privacy. Although there are no privacy laws governing cats and their genetic information, we have implemented the following procedures to try to protect your information as much as possible. We have a strict internal privacy policy that instructs our employees on how personal information collected on our website or obtained through testing of your cats is handled. This information belongs to the person who got the Basepaws Cat DNA Test. The cat’s laboratory results can only be communicated to the cat owner. In other cases, it may be a veterinarian (upon the cat owner's request). When a person calls our customer service and wants to discuss a cat's result, we first verify that it is the individual that ordered the test. If it is not the individual that ordered the test, we require permission from the original customer and may require a medical release form to be signed by that original customer, releasing the information to the third party. It’s that simple. We will not release your cat’s information to a third party without your written consent.

Have more questions about test results?

Email us at meow@basepaws.com